Don’t do more than your client wants

by Michele on July 26, 2012

Make sure to give your client only what they wantThis article is about doing what the client has hired you for and wants you to do, and not veering so far afield as to offend them.  I’ve been turned off on more than one occasion by people who felt that their status as “expert” in one area entitled them to speak to all areas of another person’s life.  To say I advise against this would be putting it mildly!  It’s happened a few times, but here are two of the most out-of-line people I’ve encountered.

A few years ago when I was still new to the internet side of my business, I signed up for a free strategy session with a successful guru and at our designated time she proceeded to criticize and pick apart areas of my life that have nothing to do with my business.  At the time, I was not devoting 40 hours a week to my business, and this was a decision my husband and I made together and it suited both of us at the time for a number of reasons that aren’t that noteworthy now.  She criticized and gave advice on how I spent my time, my business goals, and of all things, my fixer upper house!   At the time, I was so surprised I couldn’t really respond but suffice it to say I immediately cut off all contact with her and would never recommend her or use her services.  Yes, I should have stepped in and put a stop to it as soon as she got off topic, but the fact that she was so presumptuous and spoke on things she had no knowledge of was enough for me to know I’d never interact with her again.

The second example was during a training.  We were working in pairs trying to help each other, and I told my partner that I hadn’t been able to sell the packages she suggested for me.  She immediately jumped into some nonsensical “advice” about changing who I am so people would buy the packages, saying that something was wrong with who I am or the packages would be selling, etc.  Now for sure, mindset plays a big role in business but this exercise was not about mindset and the workshop was not a psychological one.  She went way outside what she was asked to do and what she said would have been insulting if I had taken her seriously.  What I did instead was add her to the list of people I’d never work with, partner with or refer to.

Here’s the tricky part of this – you probably weren’t always in the business you are now.  You probably have tons of skills and knowledge that would benefit the people who have hired you for whatever you now do.  However, when someone hires you they’ve given consent for you to give advice on the topic they’ve hired you for.  If you go too far afield, you run the risk of offending and alienating them.  My suggestion is to ask permission first.  If they want your advice, they’ll tell you.  If not, you’ve shown respect by asking and they’ll tell you no.

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